Keke Palmer might be one of the most beloved in Hollywood, period. From watching her grow up on the screen in Akeelah and the Bee to True Jackson VP, fans of the former child star couldn’t be more excited to see her return on the big screen with Jordan Peele‘s Nope, which released in July 2022. Keep reading to see photos of her transformation over the years, from Nickelodeon to now.
While Keke has expressed gratitude in working with Nickelodeon in her early acting years, she’s started to open up about her frustration on being trapped as a child star caricature box.
“I felt like I was walking around in a SpongeBob suit that I couldn’t take off,” she told the Hollywood Reporter in November 2022. “I was trapped. I couldn’t leave my room without someone coming up to me calling me ‘True Jackson.’ What you are, to everyone, is just a character … just part of their experience.”
Keke said that she felt so embedded as a child star, it was difficult to book dramatic roles in Hollywood for years — that is, until Nope. “People don’t realize what it took to even get to the point where I could play that part,” she told the outlet. “Nobody would have seen me playing that role if it hadn’t been for all the things that I’d done prior, so I’m proud of it for more reasons than one.”
“This child-star storyline … we done heard it, it’s been beat over the head,” she added. “But for the people who think that a normal childhood is overrated, nothing’s overrated if you didn’t have it.”
The Nope actress has gone on to start her own podcast and become a successful host for shows such as the NBC’s Password, the MTV Video Music Awards and Saturday Night Live.
“I’m thrilled to the moon. I just can’t wait,” Keke said of hosting SNL in an interview with CNN. “I know it’s gonna be so much fun. I’m really excited about it and just looking forward to doing it. I think it’s gonna be a unique experience, but also some familiar territory. And then it’ll just be fun seeing how they do it, you know, on their side of it. Because I love sketch.”
Scroll through our gallery to see Keke’s transformation over the years in photos.
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